Dill Salmon Pasta Salad is the ultimate refreshing salad with salmon, asparagus, fresh dill, tender pasta, and creamy, zesty lemon dressing.
Most people are used to classic sides like Egg Salad, Potato Salad, and Pasta Salad. This Dill Salmon Pasta Salad takes the same idea and adds tons of new unique and exciting flavors to it. Salmon Pasta Salad is perfect to bring to your next cookout, potluck, or party to change things up and add delightfully refreshing flavor to the spread.
Just like Classic Macaroni Salad, this is the perfect Side Dish for your next potluck or BBQ. The cooked salmon, dijon mustard, and fresh dill bring a fun flavorful twist to the salad to make it completely new.
Table of contents
Sabrina’s Dill Salmon Pasta Salad Recipe
Say hello to your new favorite pasta salad! Dill Salmon Pasta Salad is a fresh, citrusy salad that you are sure to love. It’s packed with a variety of tastes and ingredients like mustard, dill, lemon, and a little cayenne pepper. All these ingredients go wonderfully with the salmon and balance each other out so each bite is pure perfection.
This Dill Salmon Pasta Salad is a creamy and refreshing dish featuring flaked salmon, blanched asparagus, and rotini pasta. The tangy dressing, a blend of mayo, sour cream, dill, and spices, adds a zesty kick. It’s a versatile American dish, perfect for summer picnics or light lunches.
The dill goes great with the lemon and salmon in the recipe. Dill has a citrus-like taste with an earthy undertone. The fresh tang is the perfect complement to the rich taste and buttery texture of salmon.
Along with its zesty, refreshing taste Dill Salmon Pasta Salad is also a healthy alternative to other Macaroni Salads. The salmon in the recipe is full of healthy fats, nutrients, and minerals. It’s also packed with all sorts of vitamins like A, D, E, and K.
- 1 bunch Asparagus: Asparagus adds a fresh, crisp element to the salad, complementing the richness of salmon. It can be substituted with green beans or snap peas if desired.
- 1 pound Salmon, cooked: Salmon provides a protein-rich and flavorful element to the salad, adding depth to the dish. Other cooked fish like trout or canned salmon can be used as alternatives.
- 2 cups Mayonnaise: Mayonnaise forms the creamy base for the dressing, imparting richness and a tangy flavor. Greek yogurt or a combination of yogurt and olive oil can be substituted for a lighter version.
- ⅓ cup Sour Cream: Sour cream enhances the creaminess of the dressing while adding a slight tang. Greek yogurt or buttermilk can replace it for a different texture and taste.
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard: Dijon mustard provides a sharp, tangy kick to the dressing, balancing the creaminess. Yellow mustard or whole grain mustard can be used for variation.
- ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne pepper adds a subtle heat to the dressing, offering a hint of spice. Adjust the amount to suit your spice preference.
- 1 Lemon, juiced and zested: Lemon juice and zest provide a zesty, citrusy brightness to the dressing, enhancing the overall flavor. Lime or orange can be substituted for a different citrus twist.
- ⅓ cup Fresh Dill, chopped: Fresh dill contributes a delightful herbaceous and slightly sweet note to the salad. Substitute with fresh parsley or chives for a different herb flavor.
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt: Kosher salt enhances the seasoning of the dish, bringing out the flavors in the dressing and ingredients. Adjust to taste, using table salt if needed.
- ½ teaspoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper: Coarse ground black pepper adds a mild spiciness and texture to the dressing. ]
- 16 ounces Rotini Pasta, cooked and drained: Rotini pasta forms the base of the salad, providing a satisfying texture and holding the dressing well. Other pasta shapes like penne or bowtie can be used.
- ½ cup Red Onion, minced: Red onion imparts a sweet and tangy crunch to the salad, balancing the flavors. Substitute with shallots or scallions for milder onion notes.
Kitchen Tools & Equipment
- Large Bowl: A large bowl is essential for mixing the salad ingredients and dressing thoroughly. Use a sturdy, spacious bowl to avoid spilling and ensure even coating.
- Whisk: A whisk is handy for combining the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, and other dressing ingredients seamlessly.
- Pot for Boiling: You’ll need a pot for boiling the asparagus. Ensure it’s large enough to accommodate the asparagus without overcrowding. A lid can help retain heat and reduce boiling time.
- Cutting Board and Knife: A cutting board and a sharp knife are essential for tasks like trimming asparagus, chopping dill, and mincing red onions.
- Colander: A colander is essential for draining the cooked pasta and blanched asparagus. Make sure it’s sturdy and has small enough holes to prevent ingredients from slipping through.
How to Make
Time needed: 2 hours and 10 minutes.
- Step 1: Prepare Asparagus and Salmon
Trim the asparagus, cut it into 1-inch chunks, and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to ice water. Flake the cooked salmon into bite-sized pieces.
- Step 2: Make Dressing
In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, chopped dill, kosher salt, and coarse ground black pepper. Reserve 1 cup of the dressing.
- Step 3: Combine Ingredients
Add the cooked and drained rotini pasta, flaked salmon, blanched asparagus, and minced red onion to the bowl with the dressing. Gently fold until everything is well coated.
- Step 4: Chill
Refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld and the salad to chill.
- Step 5: Serve
Just before serving, stir in the remaining 1 cup of dressing to make the salad extra creamy. Enjoy your Dill Salmon Pasta Salad!
Can This Be Made Ahead of Time?
You can make the Dill Salmon Pasta Salad up to 1-2 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Just be sure to keep it well-covered to maintain freshness, and stir in the remaining dressing just before serving for the best taste and texture.
How to Store
Storing for Safety
To keep your Dill Salmon Pasta Salad fresh, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This prevents the salad from drying out and maintains its flavor. Consume within 2-3 days for the best taste and texture.
Unfortunately, the creamy dressing on Dill Salmon Pasta Salad won’t freeze well. It’s better to just make it fresh.
Tips & Tricks
- Asparagus: Start by trimming the tough end off the asparagus. To check where you should cut it, bend the asparagus and cut where it naturally snaps. After trimming, cut the remaining asparagus into 1″ chunks, then put them in boiling water and let them cook for 3 minutes. Drain out the boiling water then add them to an icy bath right away.
- Pasta: Boil a pot of water to cook pasta until al dente.
- Salmon: Flake your salmon fillet into bite-sized pieces. Cooked salmon should flake fairly naturally. Use two forks to easily flake the salmon. Hold the salmon down with one fork, then pull the other fork against the salmon flesh to flake pieces off.
- Dressing: Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour, cream, dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, dill, salt, and black pepper in a large serving bowl. Use a cup measurer to take 1 cup of dressing out, cover it, and set it aside.
- Salad: Add in the cooked pasta, salmon, asparagus, and red onion to the large bowl. Fold the ingredients together until well-coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Top it off with the reserved cup of dressing and mix it in.
Yes, you can substitute fresh salmon with canned salmon if needed. Just be sure to drain the canned salmon well and flake it into bite-sized pieces before adding it to the salad. Canned salmon can offer a convenient alternative.
Absolutely! You can make this salad lighter by using low-fat or light versions of mayonnaise and sour cream in the dressing. You can also use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for a healthier twist without compromising flavor.
To prevent the pasta from becoming mushy, make sure it’s fully cooked but still slightly al dente before adding it to the salad. Additionally, avoid overcooking the pasta during its initial cooking, and cool it down quickly in cold water after draining to stop the cooking process.
Yes, you can prepare the dressing in advance and store it separately in the refrigerator. Just make sure to give it a good stir before adding it to the salad. This can save you time when assembling the dish later.
Dill Salmon Pasta Salad is a versatile dish. You can serve it as a side dish alongside grilled chicken, steak, or as the main course for a light lunch or dinner. It also makes a great addition to picnics and potlucks.
Absolutely! Feel free to get creative with additional ingredients like cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, or feta cheese to tailor the salad to your taste. Just ensure that they complement the flavors and textures of the existing ingredients.
- 1 bunch asparagus , thin stalks
- 1 pound salmon , cooked
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 lemon , juiced and zested
- 1/3 cup fresh dill , chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon course ground black pepper
- 16 ounces rotini pasta , cooked and drained
- 1/2 cup red onion , minced
- Trim the bottoms of the asparagus (bend and where it naturally snaps, use that as a guide for the rest of the bunch).
- Cut asparagus into 1 inch chunks, then add to a pot of boiling water and boil for 3 minutes then drain to ice water.
- Flake salmon into bite-sized chunks.
- In a large bowl whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper.
- Reserve 1 cup of the dressing in a covered container.
- Add pasta, salmon, asparagus, and red onion and fold carefully until well coated.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours (at least) then stir in the remaining dressing right before serving (this makes it extra creamy).
- Click on the “yield” amount to slide and change the number of servings and the recipe will automatically update!
- Click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.
- To convert measurements to grams, click on the “Metric” option next to “Ingredients” in the recipe card.
- Meat: Instead of salmon you can try using tuna, turkey, ham, or chicken. You could also add some crunchy bacon over the top of your Salmon Pasta Salad. If you don’t have freshly cooked salmon, canned salmon will also work for this salad.
- Pasta: If you don’t have rotini pasta, you can use any short-cut noodles you have in your pantry. Try using elbow macaroni, Farfalle, orzo, shells, or orecchiette.
- Yogurt: If you want to lighten up this Pasta Salad, try using Greek Yogurt in place of the mayonnaise in the recipe. It will keep the same delicious, creamy texture.
- Flavorings: For some different flavorings try mixing in fresh parsley, minced garlic cloves, chili flakes, chile powder, and Tabasco. You can also add an extra sprinkle of salt and pepper. To make the Salad Recipe even more lemony add in a bit of extra lemon juice or lemon zest. For a garnish put some fresh lemon wedges on the side of the Salmon Pasta Salad recipe.
- Add-ins: There are so many tasty add-ins you can toss into this recipe. Try mixing in some chickpeas, nuts, or hard-boiled eggs. You can also add avocado, cucumber, frozen green peas, or cherry tomatoes. The colorful vegetables will make an even more pretty Pasta Salad to add to your table.